Disney’s decision to pull Mulan from the theatrical schedule and debut the $200 million blockbuster exclusively on their in-house streaming service for a one-off fee of $29.99 has proven to be a hugely controversial one that could end up having a far-reaching impact on how Hollywood’s major studios release their biggest movies during a time where the theatrical industry still looks a long way away from returning to normality.
People have plenty of opinions, and all of them are valid. From Disney’s perspective, charging nearly $30 per household will guarantee that they’ll make a tidy sum from Mulan, without having to split the profits with theaters. Obviously, this is leaving the cinema owners themselves enraged that they’re missing out on their cut from what was widely expected to be one of the year’s biggest box office hits.
For a family of four or five, shelling out the extra money to watch Mulan from the comfort of their own homes will work out a lot cheaper than heading down to the local multiplex and paying full price for tickets and snacks, while single-person households aren’t keen on the idea of forking out an additional $30 on a service they’re already paying for on a monthly basis.
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In any case, the recently-released final trailer revealed that the movie is available to customers with Premier Access, which is a feature of Disney Plus that had never been mentioned before. It turns out that the add-on was designed exclusively for those willing to pay the one-off fee that makes owning Mulan as simple as clicking a button, and could potentially be planting the seeds for many more of the studio’s high profile originals getting similar treatment.
As Decider explains:
Disney+ Premier Access is an add-on service that Disney is testing out with the live-action Mulan movie. In a new teaser for the film, Disney revealed that Mulan will be “exclusively available to Disney+ subscribers with Premier Access,” which means that you will have to pay the $30 fee on top of your regular Disney+ subscription. This puts the total price of Mulan close to $37 for those with monthly Disney+ subscriptions ($29.99 plus $6.99/month).
The easiest way to watch Mulan on Disney+ is to head to the movie’s landing page, as you would a non-Premier Access Disney+ title (the film does not yet have a Disney+ page, but expect one to debut in the weeks to come). There, you will have an option to pay $29.99 for the film; simply click “yes” and you’re in!
CEO Bob Chapek might be claiming publicly that Mulan won’t be setting a precedent, but it seems inevitable that a company as financially-driven as Disney will be keeping a very close eye on the profit margins and percentage of subscribers that opt for Premier Access, not to mention the new customers that will sign up just so they can see the latest in the long line of live-action remakes on day one.